Skip to main content
Orange and white tulips blossom beside the Torchbearer statue.

As the academic year comes to a close, 95 students from across Tennessee are preparing to join the Volunteer family in the fall as the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s second class of Distinguished Tennessean Scholars.

UT launched the Distinguished Tennessean Scholarship Award in fall 2022 with the goal of awarding a tuition and mandatory fees scholarship, renewable for four years, to one outstanding student from each county across the state. The scholarship is part of UT’s continued commitment to providing Tennessee students access to an affordable and valuable education shaped by a rich educational experience.

Award recipient Sarah Thrasher of Fayette County plans to study nutrition at UT. “I am truly honored to have been selected as a recipient of this award,” said Thrasher. “It makes me further appreciate those who have guided me through my adolescence and helped me to get to where I am now. Receiving this award makes me even more proud of both being a Tennessean and a resident of Fayette County.”

Meet the 2023 Class of Distinguished Tennessean Scholars

  • Anderson County, Clinton High School: Gracee DeJarnette
  • Bedford County, Shelbyville Central High School: Sean O’Gorman
  • Benton County, Camden Central High School: Ebriahna Laws
  • Blount County, Maryville High School: Diya Patel
  • Bradley County, Bradley Central High School: Bailey Lockhart
  • Campbell County, Campbell County High School: Drew Croley
  • Cannon County, Warren County High School: James Gooch
  • Carroll County, Huntingdon High School: Tatum Nolen
  • Carter County, Elizabethton High School: Olivia Holly
  • Cheatham County, Sycamore High School: Brendan Saylor
  • Chester County, Chester County High School: Paige Austin
  • Claiborne County, Claiborne High School: Addie Brooks
  • Clay County, Clay County High School: Brie McLerran
  • Cocke County, Cocke County High School: Anthony Steinbacher
  • Coffee County, Tullahoma High School: Hannah Chessor
  • Crockett County, Crockett County High School: Margaret Kate Gourley
  • Cumberland County, Stone Memorial High School: Neil Parek
  • Davidson County, Hume Fogg Magnet High School: Sierra Paolicchi
  • Decatur County, Scotts Hill High School: Alex Marshall
  • DeKalb County, Upperman High School: Seth Carter
  • Dickson County, Dickson County High School: Anna Thompson
  • Dyer County, Dyer County High School: Lily Cravens
  • Fayette County, Houston High School: Sarah Thrasher
  • Fentress County, Alvin C. York Agricultural Institute: Breyden Choate
  • Franklin County, Franklin County High School: Natalie Daugherty
  • Gibson County, Milan High School: Autumn Jones
  • Giles County, Richland High School: Abbigail Harwell
  • Grainger County, Grainger High School: Laney Newman
  • Greene County, Greeneville High School: Asher Rogers
  • Grundy County: student wishes to remain anonymous
  • Hamblen County, Morristown Hamblen East High School: Connor Douglas
  • Hamilton County, Home Life Academy: Andrew Perry
  • Hancock County, Claiborne High School: Hannah Fugate
  • Hardeman County, Bolivar Central High School: Keaton Henson
  • Hardin County, Hardin County High School: Madison Gean
  • Hawkins County, North Greene High School: Jeremiah Monaghan
  • Haywood County, University School of Jackson: Abbey Berry
  • Henderson County, Lexington High School: Kylie Atchison
  • Henry County, Henry County High School: Kathryn Bullion
  • Hickman County, Hickman County High School: Kilee Jenkins
  • Houston County, Houston County High School: Kaylee Baylor
  • Humphreys County, Waverly Central High School: Caiden Plant
  • Jackson County, Jackson County High School: Tess Crawford
  • Jefferson County, Jefferson County High School: Connor Rollins
  • Knox County, South Doyle High School: Thomas Greene
  • Lake County, Lake County High School: Jillian Stanley
  • Lauderdale County, Ripley High School: Braxton Gunn
  • Lawrence County, Loretto High School: Ella Reed
  • Lewis County, Lewis County High School: Renee Cortez
  • Lincoln County, Lincoln County High School: Dom Vecina
  • Loudon County, L&N STEM Academy: Adam Abdelrahman
  • Macon County, Macon County High School: Delaney Turner
  • Madison County, South Side High School: Hayley Emison
  • Marion County: student wishes to remain anonymous
  • Marshall County, Forrest School: Abby Davenport
  • Maury County, Zion Christian Academy: Christopher Clauss
  • McMinn County, McMinn County High School: Maddi Burke
  • McNairy County, McNairy Central High School: Alli Austin
  • Meigs County, Meigs County High School: Dylan Banfield
  • Monroe County, Sequoyah High School: Carleigh Watson
  • Montgomery County, Northeast High School: Thomas Mann
  • Moore County, Moore County High School: Annabelle Cross
  • Morgan County, Alvin C. York Agricultural Institute: Leah Napier
  • Obion County, Obion County Central High School: Alex Carpenter
  • Overton County, Livingston Academy: Marissa Speck
  • Pickett County, Pickett County High School: Landon Storie
  • Polk County, Copper Basin High School: Sapporiah Ross
  • Putnam County, Cookeville High School: Scotlynn Stroud
  • Rhea County, Rhea County High School: Savannah Tilley
  • Roane County, Roane County High School: Lilah Kitts
  • Robertson County, Springfield High School: Presley Richards
  • Rutherford County, Rockvale High School: Annabelle Marlin
  • Scott County, Oneida High School: Baylee Strunk
  • Sequatchie County, Sequatchie County High School: Gabrielle Ramirez
  • Sevier County, Sevier County High School: Mason Schmidt
  • Shelby County, Collierville High School: Sydney Cummins
  • Smith County, Lebanon High School: Kalli Cothron
  • Stewart County, Stewart County High School: Addie Lewis
  • Sullivan County, Dobyns-Bennett High School: Ava Hochstetler
  • Sumner County, Pope John Paul II Preparatory School: Sara Grubbs
  • Tipton County, Munford High School: Andrew Lechner
  • Trousdale County, Trousdale County High School: Isaiah Towns
  • Unicoi County, Unicoi County High School: Riley Hatcher
  • Union County, Union County High School: Lakin Booker
  • Van Buren County, Van Buren County High School: Mattie McGuire
  • Warren County, Warren County High School: Vansh Patel
  • Washington County, Science Hill High School: Alyssa LeFever
  • Wayne County, Wayne County High School: Jazmyn Hall
  • Weakley County, Westview High School: Mary Anna Chester
  • White County, White County High School: Josiah Rushing
  • Williamson County, Fred J. Page High School: Adrienne Jones
  • Wilson County, Wilson Central High School: Jai Mehta

Scholarship recipients from Bledsoe, Johnson and Perry counties are in review.

Distinguished Tennessean Scholarship Award Selection

Each year, one incoming first-year in-state student from each of the 95 Tennessee counties who demonstrates exceptional academic performance and engagement will be selected to receive the Distinguished Tennessean Scholarship Award. Students who apply to the university by Dec. 15, the regular admissions deadline, are automatically considered for the award.

The recipient must be admitted to the university and enroll for the fall semester immediately following their graduation from a Tennessee high school.

UT is investing in more scholarships than ever before. In addition to the Distinguished Tennessean Scholarship, the university offers the Tri-Star Scholarship program, the Volunteer Scholarship, and other institutional scholarships to Tennessee residents. More scholarship opportunities can be found on the One Stop website. Prospective students should apply by the regular admissions deadline of Dec. 15 to be fully considered for these scholarships.


Maggie Palmer (865-974-3993,

Erica Estep (865-974-2225,